There is nothing better than seeing a young actor excel and make a name for him or herself in Hollywood. Right on the cusp of stardom, these celebrities have it all: brains, beauty and talent! In celebration of Black History Month, Wonderwall.com is taking a look at the top young black stars you need to know, starting with Yara Shahidi. Yara began her career when she was only 6 years old with guest appearances on "Scandal," "Cold Case" and in the film "Imagine That." Now 17, she has achieved mainstream recognition and accolades for her performance as Zoey Johnson on "Black-ish." She's so talented that she was given her own spin-off series, "Grown-ish," which premiered in January 2018. In addition to her phenomenal acting skills, she's also an advocate for racial and gender equality, a rising fashion star and a shameless bookworm. The teen announced she will be attending Harvard University in 2018.
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Caleb McLaughlin has sung on Broadway, acted on one of the biggest Netflix shows ever, and danced on an acclaimed TV biopic — is there anything this 16 year old can't do?! Caleb first came onto the scene when he was cast as a young Simba in "The Lion King" on Broadway. The New York native then had a stream of guest appearances on shows like "Law & Order: SVU" and "Shades of Blue" before hitting it big as Lucas Sinclair on "Stranger Things." His performance earned him an NAACP Image Award, an ensemble cast SAG Award and a host of fans worldwide. Caleb most recently showed off his dancing and singing skills once again as a young Ricky Bell in the critically acclaimed "The New Edition Story." We can't wait to see what he does next!
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Storm Reid is only 14 years old and has already acted alongside the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Brad Pitt and Sarah Paulson! The young teen got her start in Hollywood at age 10 when she was cast as Emily in the Academy Award-winning "12 Years a Slave." Today, Storm is on the road to be a certified A-lister with her most recent leading role in 2018's "A Wrinkle in Time." When asked about her experience filming with Oprah, Reese and Mindy Kaling, the starlet said they grew incredibly close. "We're tight. Like we're a family. I feel like we're a little bit closer in my head, in my imagination — like we're best friends, we talk every day, texting," she told Vulture. "No, but they're just so great and I love them, and they love me. And every time we're together, we feel the bond and the friendship and family. They're all my mentors and they're just so inspiring. To have them in my corner, to have them pour into me is absolutely incredible."
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You might not who JD McCrary is yet, but you will soon! The 10 year old created quite a buzz when he performed flawlessly at the 2018 Grammys with Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover). The twosome may have seemed like a random pairing, but Donald and JD are actually future co-stars: JD plays a young Simba in the upcoming "Lion King" live-action remake while Donald plays the older Simba. In 2018, JD is also set to play Kenny Payne on Tyler Perry's new series, "The Paynes," a spinoff of the popular show "House of Payne." Definitely a future star in the making!
Marsai Martin is one accomplished 13 year old. The young Texan has been playing twin daughter Diane Johnson on ABC's "Black-ish" since 2014, but most recently made headlines for executive producing and starring in her own film, the Universal comedy "Little," which is based on her own idea. The story focuses on a woman who gets the chance to relive her carefree childhood after the pressures of adulthood overwhelm her. The movie's script was penned by "Girls Trip" writer Tracy Oliver, so it's guaranteed to be truly hilarious. Congrats, Marsai!
Lonnie Chavis is not even in double digits but is already making a name for himself in Hollywood! At the tender age of 9, Lonnie landed his first major role on NBC's hit dramedy series "This Is Us." He plays the 9-year-old version of Randall on the critically acclaimed show that tugs at your heartstrings. Lonnie was also recently cast as Trevor, the young son on Showtime's "White Famous," and as Young Cameron in the Disney feature film "Magic Camp." When he's not walking red carpets and working with Hollywood icons, Lonnie enjoys spending time with his parents and brothers at his home in Long Beach, California.
Chloe Bailey, 19, and Halle Bailey, 17, know the power of persistence (and social media!). The sisters, known by their stage name, Chloe x Halle, got their start posting cover songs on YouTube. Their rendition of Beyonce's "Pretty Hurts" caught the attention of Queen Bey herself and the rest, as they say, is history. Bey signed them to her label, Parkwood Entertainment, in 2013 and the duo have since toured worldwide on the Formation Tour and released new music. Fans can now spot them on the Freeform spinoff "Grown-ish" with Yara Shahidi. "We pinch ourselves every day," Chloe told Rolling Stone in 2017. "We're just two young girls who like to create music from scratch in their living room." Added Halle of label boss Beyonce, "We're so grateful that we have a resource like her. She's been through everything."
Jaden Smith might be the child of two celebrities but that doesn't mean he's not talented in his own right. The 19 year old — who's the son of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith — launched his acting career in his father's award-winning film "The Pursuit of Happyness" when he was only 8. Jaden went on to star in "The Day the Earth Stood Still," a remake of "The Karate Kid" and "After Earth" before committing himself to his No. 1 passion — music. The teen went on to release a five-times platinum single with Justin Bieber ("Never Say Never") in 2010, two mixtapes in 2012 and 2014 and his debut album in 2017. "People love to just talk about me by name and say, 'Oh, Jaden Smith this, Jaden Smith that.' It's time for a new awakening and a new consciousness," Jaden told Complex. "Anybody who thinks they know me, this album is something completely different from what they think. So I'm excited."
You might know him as the adorable twin brother on "Black-ish," but Miles Brown is a young man on the move! The 12 year old first appeared as a dancer in videos for Chris Brown and Justin Bieber when he was only 3 years old before snagging the role of Jack Johnson on "Black-ish" in 2014. In addition to the hit ABC show, Miles will also be featured on upcoming episodes of "Drunk History." We're looking forward to his next moves!
Amandla Stenberg first gained worldwide recognition when she was cast as Rue in "The Hunger Games" in 2012. The 19 year old went on to voice Bia in "Rio 2" in 2014 and also appeared on "Sleepy Hollow" on FOX in 2013 and "Mr. Robinson" on NBC in 2015. Her most recent work, "Everything, Everything," was released in 2017 to positive reviews. Amandla is not only an actress but also a proud activist and advocate for equality. The teen — who identifies as a non-binary, pansexual, intersectional feminist — publicly called out non-black pop stars for appropriating black culture in a viral video in 2015. In addition to her acting and advocacy, Amandla is also all about the books and will be attending film school at New York University. Talk about talented!
Trevor Jackson is a true triple threat! The 21-year-old Indiana native can dance, sing and act with the best of them. An 8-year-old Trevor won the role of young Simba on the national tour of "The Lion King" musical in 2004. He then transitioned from stage to television, starring in "Eureka" on Syfy, "Let It Shine" on the Disney Channel and "American Crime" on ABC. While starring on some of TV's biggest shows, Trevor was also releasing music and working with the likes of Kevin Gates and Sage the Gemini. Now 21, fans can find Trevor on the Freeform spinoff "Grown-ish" with co-stars Yara Shahidi and Chloe x Halle.
Eris Baker has dreams of winning an Emmy like her on-screen dad, Sterling K. Brown, and the 12 year old is well on her way! The young starlet is currently playing Tess Pearson on the hit NBC show "This Is Us." Prior to starring on America's favorite dramedy, Eris had roles on "K.C. Undercover," "Alexa & Katie" and "Drunk History." "Sometimes when I'm on-set and I mess up a line and have to start again, they'll say, 'Don't worry about it, it's okay! Mistakes happen, and they're a part of life,'" Eris told AOL about her on-screen parents, Sterling and Susan Kelechi Watson. "Little quotes and things they say to me on-set are so inspiring, and one day I want to be just like them. I want to go to the Emmys and do everything they're doing. Dream big or go home!"
Marcus Scribner is only 18 years old but he's already winning accolades for his craft. The Los Angeles native enjoyed guest appearances on "Castle," "New Girl" and "Wedding Band" before landing his breakout role as Andre Johnson Jr. on "Black-ish." His performance earned him an NAACP Image Award for outstanding performance by a youth. Marcus — who wants to attend college at Stanford or UCLA — also prides himself on being a humanitarian. The teen is a youth ambassador for the Beaches Resorts and Sandals Foundation and the Chief Youth Innovator for Reserve Protection Agency in South Africa, which helps endangered animals. Impressive!
Like brother Jaden Smith, Willow Smith is the child of superstars but established a name for herself outside of her famous parents' shadows. The 17 year old launched her music career with the super-successful single "Whip My Hair" in 2010. The song peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and was deemed "the song of the summer" that year. Since her debut, Willow has truly grown into her own, evolving her look and shifting from bubblegum pop to a more soulful, eclectic R&B sound. She released her debut album in 2015, her second album in 2017 and has gone on to headline the Afropunk and Girl Cult music festivals and tour with Jhene Aiko.
Detroit native Ryan Destiny got her start in Hollywood the same way so many stars have… singing in a girl group. Ryan was a member of musical trio New Limit, which auditioned on "America's Got Talent" in 2011 before leaving during the third round. She was then a part of another girl group, Love Dollhouse, that was signed to Russell Simmons' label, but they disbanded in 2015. However, the 23 year old didn't let these setbacks stop her! She persisted and eventually booked one of the lead roles — she plays Alexandra — on the FOX series "Star" opposite Queen Latifah. She is also currently working on her first solo project. Love!